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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NHL Broadcasts Return to ESPN After 17 Years

  • ESPN will employ cameras to give viewers an ice-level view of hockey.
  • Disney’s ABC/ESPN is paying $400 million annually to serve as the league’s lead TV partner.
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ESPN/Design: Alex Brooks

Now that ESPN has NHL back, it plans to give viewers a closer look at the action than ever before.

Disney’s ABC/ESPN is paying $400 million annually to serve as the league’s lead TV partner, while Turner Sports is paying $225 million per year for the “B” package.

Tuesday marks ESPN’s first NHL coverage in 17 years. Here’s what to expect:

  • On-ice cameras: Camera operators will be on the ice during shootouts. “It gives you a perspective of the size of the players,” said producer Mark Gross, “and it gets viewers on the ice.”
  • Situation room: ESPN will place a camera in the replay room in Toronto and use ex-ref Dave Jackson for deeper analysis on reviews.
  • Locker room access: Some coaches will be mic’d for pregame speeches, as well as select players in warm-ups. 
  • Puck tracking: New technology will highlight puck and player movement.

ESPN wants the TV experience to match, or surpass, the famously intense in-person NHL experience.  

“Hearing a pregame speech from a coach? They’re not getting that in the arena,” Gross said.

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